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Video: Getting Ready to Watch Siena's Palio

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At Siena's Palio horse race, bleacher and balcony seats are expensive, but it's free to join the masses in the square. And those who are really well-connected get to watch from the comfort of an apartment window. Roberto's friend, Franco, shared his apartment overlooking the race course...and we're enjoying the best seats in town. From this vantage point, we watch as the square fills, lots of pageantry unfolds as each neighborhood does its flag-waving thing, and race time approaches. The ritual and the strict traditions are inviolable. The excitement builds.

Siena throws a great party, and they've had plenty of practice. During our several days in town, things went smoothly, security was solid yet very low-key, people had a rowdy great time but nothing got broken, and wherever the horses went the unheralded pooper scoopers.

This is Day 96 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, Siena, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.